Another South Australian prison has become Smokefree shortly after jail security uncovered an elaborate attempt to hide a stash of cigarettes and tobacco.
Port Augusta Prison this month became Smokefree as part of the Marshall Government’s policy to make our jails safer for staff and eradicate its use as a form of currency and addiction inside the correctional system.
Late last month, Department of Corrections staff found concealed tobacco products in a prison kitchen area under a servery cupboard base during the lunchtime lockdown period.
Items seized included: 8x 50g packets of white ox pouches (unopened), 6x 25g packets of white ox pouches (unopened), 23x cigarette lighters and 78x tallyho paper packets.
Minister for Police, Correctional Services and Emergency Services said tobacco affordability was a growing concern within prisons.
“Make no butts about it – the cessation of smoking will have significant financial and health advantages for staff and prisoners,” Minister Wingard said.
“Tobacco is often used as a form of currency inside jails which can lead to prisoners incurring levels of debt amongst other inmates and, in turn, trigger other issues relating to prison safety.”
Making South Australian prisons Smokefree will bring the state into line with most other Australian jurisdictions.
The initiative comes amid Marshall Government proposed legislation enacting new measures and increased penalties for some existing offences in a major revamp of the Correctional Services Act.
Such laws being considered include increasing the potential prison term for any inmate caught with drugs or other prohibited items to up to five years.
Other measures include abolishing automatic parole for convicted drug traffickers serving five years or less.
Like sex offenders, those convicted of violence offences, terrorism and arson offences, drug traffickers will have to appear before the Parole Board to secure their release and have strict parole conditions set.
“Prisoners who commit crimes while locked up will have plenty of new jail time to consider the consequences of their actions and how living a law-abiding life might be in the best interests for themselves and the community,” Minister Wingard said.